Kent's very own portrait prize winner, Charlotte Harris

PUBLISHED: 12:52 29 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:58 20 February 2013

Kent’s very own portrait  prize winner, Charlotte Harris

Kent’s very own portrait prize winner, Charlotte Harris

In the heart of Folkestone's Creative Quarter, Kent's very own portrait prize winner, Charlotte Harris, creates some mouthwatering pieces.

Words by Diana Crampton pictures by Manu Palomeque

A couple of years ago, I was in Charlotte Harris studio, admiring her burgeoning portrait of a mature woman. What struck me was the texture of the sleeve. It reminded me of the self-portrait of Raphael and Charlotte, knowing immediately which painting and pose I meant, said yes, Titian its in the National Gallery.

It was a commission for Diane Church and Charlotte was thinking of the famous Titian sleeve when she set up this portrait, and very successfully too.

So I was delighted when the opportunity arose to speak to Charlotte about her work, two years on. Walking into the studio was one of those particular artistic pleasures: the smell of oils, and the works in progress studded around walls and on easels.

In front of me is a mouthwatering boiled egg with soldiers, but its a canvas, and its a work in progress. Charlotte admits she had to cook herself an egg after working on the painting: Setting up the egg was great fun. The yolk looks scrumptious and the sandwich tasted good, too!

Charlottes prize-winning portrait for the BP National Portrait Award, Granny, went into the competition in January 2003 and won that summer, coinciding with the completion of her three-year BA at Leeds. From this she got several commissions, including most of the portrait commissions for the next five years and a slot on Womans Hour.

I had also seen more of Charlotte's portraits and the hyper-real still lifes at a show in Folkestones Georges House Gallery, under the aegis of Strange Cargo. Again I was to see that painstaking work on textures: a wonderful portrait of Charlottes sister in a red dress with a black overskirt in lace, which gave plenty of opportunity for detailed work.

Charlottes artistic heroes include the great masters, Titian, Rembrandt, Michelangelo and the Spanish Old Masters, such as Velezquez, as well as the Dutch Frans Hals. More recently, I love the work of Stanley Spencer and David Hockney," she adds. I enjoy looking around different galleries and I like Gwen John.

The love of the traditional does not mean eschewing an interest in the contemporary: There is such a massive wide range out there. I think there is some fantastic painting going on at the moment, much is photo-real and hyper-real. The way painting progresses in tandem with digital media is very interesting. However, Charlotte has always loved portraiture, and says she always will.

I ask Charlotte how she starts new projects. First, she may refer to the painters who inspire her. If Im stuck, Ill look at their work. With portraiture, the inspiration is often family and friends, people Im close to. With still life work, Im often inspired by an object, by the way light falls on it, even fruit in a supermarket, everyday things around me.

She adds: I love painting material and different textures and fabrics and getting that texture onto canvas. I love painting glass, the way it reflects and plays with light, it has a very magical quality.

On the wall, we look at the work in progress and I get a lesson in painting. These works start with a grisaille, a monotone with raw umbra. This sets out the tonal values for the painting, so when you glaze colour over the top it gives depth and realism and you work into those glazes and bring them up to the finished level. You can do glazes with acrylic, but I always use oil, adds Charlotte.

She enjoys working in the Creative Quarter and tells me. Its been good. Its developed a lot, particularly over the last four years. Ive met a lot of people and fellow artists. It has a nice community and the potential to grow even more.

Currently working on canvases for an art exhibition, you can see her work at the Fairfax Gallery, with five pieces on show, as part of a group exhibition, until the end of April.

Charlotte has taken part in the Affordable Art Fair in London and her ambition is to start exhibiting more, hoping to put portraits in open exhibitions in the capital.

Contact


Charlotte Harris can be found at her studio at 35-37 Tontine Street, Folkestone CT20 1JT,

%01303 212361 or

%07990 945457,

)charlotte-harris@hotmail.co.uk

You can also see her work at the Fairfax Gallery, 23 The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells TN2 5TD,

%01892 525525, )andrew@fairfaxgallery.com


Charlotte Harris can be found at her studio at 35-37 Tontine Street, Folkestone CT20 1JT, 01303 212361 or 07990 945457,
charlotte-harris@hotmail.co.uk

You can also see her work at the Fairfax Gallery, 23 The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells TN2 5TD, 01892 525525 andrew@fairfaxgallery.com

More from Out & About

Yesterday, 13:17

The Greensand Way is one of the prettiest walks in Kent offering amazing views from the ridge right across the county

Read more
Wed, 17:39

The easing of lockdown saw a huge growth in paddlesports, with people eager to get some exercise and explore the countryside, safely | Words: Caroline Read - Photos: Manu Palomeque

Read more
Wed, 09:27

Kent is not only home to many stunning beaches but also has some of the safest and cleanest in the country, many with prestigious Blue Flag status

Read more
Friday, September 11, 2020

If you love a bit of birding, then you’ll be in seventh heaven on this walk that meanders through the sand dunes and salt marshes and rich habitats of the Sandwich bird observatory

Read more
Tuesday, September 8, 2020

In this strangest of years, the changing of the seasons is a reassuring constant. Let’s embrace the start of autumn | Words: Emma Ward - Photos: National Trust Images

Read more
Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Heritage Open Days is back – with an emphasis this year on discovering previously overlooked green spaces | Words: Francesca Baker - Photos: courtesy of Heritage Open Days

Read more
Friday, September 4, 2020

Setting off from the beach at St Margaret’s, prepare to be amazed at the feast of delights that will unfold before you as you meander along across cliff tops

Read more
April 2018

Kent is blessed with fine and indeed famous country houses, but over the decades has lost as many of its grander houses as it retains. A new book by Martin Easdown reveals 120 examples that have simply disappeared

Read more

Designated a Heritage Action Zone by Historic England, a new book explains why this seaside town is so special

Read more
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life